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Salim Calls For Tougher Measures Against Anjouan Separatists

PANA, 9 July 2000

LOME, Togo (PANA) - OAU Secretary General Salim Ahmed Salim urged the continental body to consider stronger measures against separatists in Comorian island of Anjouan.

Presenting a report Saturday on the situation in the Indian Ocean archipelago to the council of ministers meeting in Lome, Salim said the separatists in Anjouan had continued their defiance to the OAU and the rest of the international community, despite the punitive measures instituted against them.

Those measures included restriction of telecommunications, air and sea links, sanctions on oil products and the closure of the Comorian Central Bank agency in Anjouan.

The OAU has also imposed restrictions on travel documents and travel of the separatist leaders and their families and supported and provided assistance to the political parties and organisations of the civil society opposed to the separatists.

Salim appealed to the foreign ministers to institute additional measures that would being the crisis to an end. What form these measures would take, was a matter of debate in Saturday's deliberations, according to sources inside the conference hall.

Another thorny issue tabled before the proceedings was the issue of the Comoros' military government which has been barred from participating in OAU activities since it came to power almost three years ago.

The OAU decided at its 1997 summit to ban leaders who come to power using the gun.

The delegates heard the secretary general explain how untiringly his office and that of various delegations from South Africa, Mozambique and Mauritius and other well wishers had engaged the Comoros military authorities in the past months to come up with plans to return the country to "constitutional order."

The sources said delegates felt strongly about the issue of the separatists and the lack of constitutional order on the island.

According to these sources, one delegate said that the current sanctions should continue before the next stage of the yet unspecified measures is taken.

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